Rapunzel

  • Title: Rapunzel
  • Author: Paul O. Zelinsky
  • Illustrator: Paul O. Zelinsky
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Publication year: 1997
  • Brief Summary: From Scholastic: “A unique retelling of the classic story of Rapunzel, the girl with the long, golden hair.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – As I have mentioned in the posts on both Snow White picture books, fairy tales are an integral part of a child’s upbringing and so this book also could have its place beside the Poole and Barrett version of Snow White. Again, a diverse take on this classic story could be used hand in hand with this one. I think it is important to relate the original or “classic” story first and then introduce variations. Like many fairy tales, there are similar stories across many cultures. The one that I would want to pair along with this one is Patricia Storace and illustrated by Raul Colon’s Sugar Cane: A Caribbean Rapunzel, which will also be on my list.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. –There are no words for Zelinsky’s illustrations. The illustrations are not only a testament to the Renaissance style of art, but really make this rather grim (no pun intended) fairy tale come alive with action and feeling. What keeps this book flowing and interesting for a reader are the way the illustrations are designed around the text. There is paneling, with a small illustration on one page and larger on the other. Or even when almost an entire two pages are filled with illustrations, there is white space left as a border, and a small paragraph of text underneath one illustration. There is one spread where the tower rises up the left page, showing the small figure of the witch yelling up at Rapunzel, while on the right is a full page that shows a resigned Rapunzel, gazing out of her tower window while the gangly witch climbs ungracefully up Rapunzel’s braided hair.